Ann Kelley

May 11, 2004

Post #1698 – 20040511

Dear Mr. Pinkwater and gang,

While listening to you and Scott Simon read “And Here’s to You” last Saturday morning I was reminded of a Golden Book I read to my children (over and over) many years ago. “The Friendly Book” was written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Garth Williams. The rhythm and cadence of the poem was remarkably similar to the Wise poem as was the subject matter. You might want to check into it although it seems disturbing that someone with obvious talent would resort to plagiarizing a children’s book.

Daniel replies:

I salute your remarkable memory--but calling plagiarism is a risky thing to do--and sometimes results in long and complicated court cases. I see a great many children's books, and very often the same themes, and similar treatments come up. Also, specific reading experiences can lodge in the subconsious, and an artist may innocently repeat something seen a long time ago and not consciously remembered. My own policy is this: If you like a book, write it. Good artists borrow--great artists steal. I have never been a big Margaret Wise Brown fan, and don't remember The Friendly Book, but it would be interesting to compare it side-by-side with And Here's to You, and see which one seems a better work of art.